Friday Book Whimsy: Favorite Books of 2014

I mentioned the other day that I read 20 fewer books in 2014 than I did in 2013. Having said that, I still read a heck of a lot of books. I’m retired, so I have lots of time to read. My friends and loved ones with small children are lucky to read five in a year, and three of those are by Dr. Seuss!

I read a variety of books, but mostly fiction. A lot of the books that I read are not necessarily newly published. All of my life I have tended to read books after they come out in paperback as opposed to brand new hardbacks. Even now that I read almost entirely on an electronic device – mostly my IPAD – that is still mostly true. Still, out of the books I will list, I read three as new releases.

Here are my five favorite reads of 2014, and not in any particular order….

ordinary graceOrdinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger. This novel was the first book I ever read by this author. Upon reading Ordinary Grace, I have begun reading his Cork O’Connor mysteries, which are marvelous. Ordinary Grace  is a beautiful story about a family in small-town Minnesota in 1961, as recalled by the main character as an adult decades later. Though the story is a sad tale, it is not depressing because in the end, it is a revelation of the grace of God in our lives.

the silkwormThe Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith. Galbraith is a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling, and The Silkworm is the second in a series featuring Cormoran Strike, an interesting protagonist with many layers. Galbraith’s novels read slowly, but the stories are excellent and interesting and his/her character development is exceptional. I would recommend reading the first in the series – The Cuckoo’s Calling — before reading The Silkworm.

somewhereSomewhere Safe With Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. Karon’s Mitford novels are books that I couldn’t possibly wait until they come out in paperback. Father Tim returns to Mitford and is back in the pulpit, at least temporarily, and back with all of the characters we love so much in this fictional North Carolina town.

 

Summer of the Dead, by Julia Keller. Third in the series, and not, perhaps, even the best. I want to sing from the rooftops the virtues of Keller’s writing, and am sorry that more people haven’t discovered her. The protagonist, Bell Elkins, is the district attorney in this poor West Virginia mining town. Believe me when I tell you that Ackers Gap, the town, could be one of the characters because it is so clearly portrayed and has such a profound impact on what transpires in the books. Keller’s writing is beautiful. However, if you’re looking for a fast-moving and light-hearted mystery series, this isn’t it. Keller has become one of my favorite authors.

TaraTara Road, by Maeve Binchy. I will be reviewing this novel next week, so I won’t say a lot about it here. It is an older book by a relatively prolific author who died in 2012. According to my sister, she was one of my mother’s favorite authors. Tara Road was only the second book I’ve read by Binchy, and I enjoyed it more than the first that I read, which was A Week in Winter, which, to be fair, is loved by many. It was, perhaps, my favorite read of 2014.

There you have it Folks. I must say I had a difficult time limiting my list to five, as I am an easy date when it comes to reading. I used to wonder why I liked nearly all of the books I read, until it occurred to me that if I don’t like a book, I stop reading it. When that’s your reading style, you end up reading almost only books you like. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “Life’s too short to read a bad book.”

I’m looking forward to seeing what I pick up in 2015.

What were the best books you read in 2014?

7 thoughts on “Friday Book Whimsy: Favorite Books of 2014

  1. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon, Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher and The Light In The Ruins by Chris Bohjalian. And a nod to Diana Gabaldon for her long awaited book Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

  2. My best for 2014 were Calling Me Home by Kibler, The Time Between by White, And the Dark Sacred Night by Glass, A Killing in the Hills by Keller and Natchez Burning by Iles. I have read Binchy for years, and the last books were poor, especially the ones published after her death. They were milking the old cash cow without rewrites and good editing!

  3. By far my favorite of the year was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I also really have enjoyed A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy and have noticed the difference of writing at the end in comparison to the beginning. Looking forward to reading her earlier works.

  4. Hard to narrow it to 5: And the Mountains Echoed, Kaled Housseini; Shell Seekers, Rosamund Pilcher; The Perfume Collector, Kathleen Tessaro; The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd; Women of the Silk, Gail Tsukiyama. Most of these were read for one of my book clubs, which is why I always have to belong to at least one, or I would only read mysteries. Speaking of which, I read The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos and was reminded of what an outstanding author he is. And I finished my re-read of Robert B. Parker. I feel like I lost a dear friend when he died. His dialogue is the best!

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